Mountain Ridge's Uma Pua'auli runs into the clear

Mountain Ridge quarterback Uma Pua’auli (8) breaks into the clear during the third quarter of the Miners’ 41-16 victory over Allegany Friday evening at Greenway Avenue Stadium. Pua’auli ran for three touchdowns and passed for two more.

CUMBERLAND — No. 2 Mountain Ridge made its argument to be number one on Friday, defeating No. 5 Allegany 41-16 at Greenway Avenue Stadium.

“Today was up and down, emotional ride,” Mountain Ridge head coach Ryan Patterson said. “They did what they wanted to do, they ran right downhill at us. They had ball control offense and chewed up a lot of clock. Fortunately, in the red zone our defense decided to start playing ball in the first half.

“Offensively, way too many mistakes. Turning the ball over twice in the first half, just can’t happen for us.”

The Miners went three and out on the opening drive. On the ensuing punt, Jacob Salonish returned it 24 yards inside Mountain Ridge territory. Cayden Bratton picked up 25 yards down the right sideline that set up first and goal. On the next play, Brody Williams fumbled the snap and the Miners recovered.

Mountain Ridge took advantage, Uma Pua’auli picked up 22 yards on a scramble. Three plays later, he found David Miller, who walked in from 10 yards out.

The teams exchanged turnovers the next two drives. Tyson Shoemaker made a one-handed interception and returned it 24 yards. The next play, Connor Guy fumbled the handoff and Alex Kennell fell on it for the Campers.

“He’s a great athlete, he does great things on both sides of the ball for us,” Patterson said about Shoemaker. “We have lots of good athletes. We’re very blessed right now. We see him do everything in practice, we’re happy to see it happen for him.”

Allegany had the ball early in the second quarter when Bratton broke a tackle and ran 25 yards down the right sideline to set up first and goal at the five. The drive stalled and Blake Powell kicked a 21-yard field goal with 6:39 left in the second quarter.

Mountain Ridge responded with a 20-yard completion from Pua’auli to Miller down the right sideline. Pua’auli ran a quarterback keeper up the middle for 23 yards and scored on a quarterback sneak the next play.

“I don’t know why it took a half for us to get (ticked) off, but we finally did,” Patterson said. “It was a big series to open up with them going three and out. We got the ball back and scored, got a two-score lead. Our kids played angry after that.”

Bratton returned the ensuing kickoff 24 yards. With less than two minutes left, Williams took a shot down the left sideline. Salonish caught it in stride for 41 yards and the touchdown.

The Miners took the opening kickoff of the second half and Pua’auli was the focal point with three straight quarterback keepers up the middle. They picked up 40 yards in total. The third run was right up the middle for 18 yards and a score.

The second half was controlled by Mountain Ridge as it outscored Allegany 27-6 and held them off the scoreboard in the third quarter.

“They’re fresher, what you saw in the first half was us trying our best football,” Allegany head coach Bryan Hansel said. “We came out and knew we needed a drive. Whether it’s three or a touchdown, we gotta go get a drive and we didn’t.”

After three consecutive quarterback keepers up the middle, Pua’auli scored from 18 yards out with 7:16 remaining in the third quarter. He picked up 40 yards on the drive.

Pua’auli found Elijah Moore from 12 yards out for a touchdown with 2:52 left in the quarter. With exactly 10 minutes to go in the game, Pua’auli scored his third rushing touchdown from seven yards away. The extra point was missed.

“He’s fast, he’s physical,” Hansel said of Pua’auli. “He runs with a purpose. He’s just a great athlete. That wasn’t a surprise, we were kinda worried as he got feeling himself that he would continue to do it and he did.”

Allegany added a late score as Williams ran in from 14 yards away. He faked a handoff and walked in toward the right corner of the end zone.

“We looked up it was 34-10,” Hansel said. “That’s three touchdowns, you get three touchdowns, three two point conversions so we weren’t gonna give up and mail it in. He made a nice read, pulled it for the touchdown.”

With 4:16 left, Austin Frost scored from 28 yards away to make the final 41-16.

For the Miners, Pua’auli finished with 11 rushes for 169 yards and three touchdowns. He had 93 rushing yards in the second half and 76 at halftime. He also went 14 of 22 for 145 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

“I really felt Uma carrying the ball for us was such a key thing for us,” Patterson said. “He’s so quick, usually makes good decisions so we’re blessed to have him.”

Jaden Lee rushed 10 times for 62 yards. Frost had seven rushes for 43 yards and a score.

For the Campers, Williams went 5 of 10 for 83 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also rushed eight times for 44 yards and a score.

“He competes, he’s always gonna compete,” Hansel said. “He didn’t practice all week, he’s hobbled. To come out and compete like that it’s a really big thing.”

Bratton led Allegany with 64 yards on 15 rushes. Brett Patterson had 12 rushes for 50 and Salonish was the only Camper to catch a pass. He caught six for 85 yards and a touchdown.

The Campers return home on Saturday to play Albert Gallatin at 1 p.m. Mountain Ridge travels to Smithsburg to face the Leopards on Friday at 6 p.m.

“Disciplined football, it’s an option style offense,” Hansel said about stopping Albert Gallatin. “We gotta play our assignments and if we don’t play our assignment they’ll catch you over and over. It’s gonna take discipline, we didn’t have any tonight. Hopefully, we can have some next week.”

Jordan Kendall is a Sports Writer for the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @JKendallCTN.

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